3 arrested in motel robbery, attack

Lorenzo Walker (left), Christopher Ebanks

WALTERBORO -- Police arrested two men and a 15-year-old boy after a motel owner was pistol-whipped and robbed early Tuesday.

Walterboro police responded to an armed robbery call at the Sunset Inn at 1557 Bells Highway at 12:39 a.m. and met with the owner, who was bleeding from the forehead.

Here is what happened, according to an incident report released Thursday:

The owner told officers he opened the door for a teenager when an older man with a bandanna over his face pointed a handgun at him and demanded money. The suspect took money from the register and reached inside the owner's pockets, taking his credit cards and driver's license.

The teen ran from the scene as the gunman told the victim to let him inside the owner's private area of the hotel. When he refused, the suspect pistol-whipped the victim and left.

Authorities arrived and secured the scene. A Colleton County sheriff's deputy noticed a man, Christopher Edward Ebanks, walking behind a nearby motel and questioned him. Ebanks told the deputy he was staying in Room 103 at the Southern Inn. Officers met two women in the parking lot who said they were renting Room 103 but denied knowing Ebanks. They allowed officers to search their room.

When officers knocked on the door, they were met by Lorenzo Walker. They also found a 15-year-old male in the shower, covered with sweat.

The women later told officers that they knew the suspects but officers confirmed the women had been at a nearby restaurant and didn't know about the robbery plan.

The teen suspect told police he was instructed to go to the Sunset Inn and persuade the owner to let him in. Walker followed him in with a gun while Ebanks acted as the lookout, he told police.

Police charged Walker, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., with kidnapping, armed robbery, first-degree assault and battery and possession of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

Ebanks, 21, from Peewee, Ala., is charged with armed robbery and kidnapping. The 15-year-old suspect, from Walterboro, was charged with armed robbery and kidnapping and was taken to the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice.

Officers found the motel owner's belongings in a nearby trash bin but did not recover the gun, according to the report.

Reach Andy Paras at 937-5589, on Twitter at @AndyParas or Facebook.